Reader's Guide to Schleiermacher's Christian Faith

Definitions of Key Terms and Questions for Aiding Understanding

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Second Part of the System of Doctrine: Explication of the Facts of the Religious Self-Consciousness, as they are determined by the Antithesis of Sin and Grace

First Aspect of the Antithesis: Explication of the Consciousness of Sin

Second Section: The Constitution of the World in Relation to Sin

75 Once sin is present in man, he finds also in the world, as his sphere, persistent causes of hindrance to his life, i.e. evils. This section, accordingly, will deal with the doctrine of evil.

Questions

  • 75.1 How does Schleiermacher conceive of hindrances to human life, and what are their role in his conception of bondage?
  • 75.2  By defining social evil as that which causes hindrance to human life, does Schleiermacher provide us with any grounds for an ecological ethic?  It seems such an ethic would be anthropocentric at best.

Definitions

  • 75.1. an evil: “every impression made by the world upon us and involving an obstruction of our bodily and temporal life” when “the predominant factor is not the God-consciousness but the flesh” (316).
  • 75.2. natural evil: “anything that gives rise to obstructions in human life so far as it is independent of human action” (316).
  • 75.2. social evil: when “bring about such obstructions [to human life] is really due to human action” (316).

 

76 All evil is to be regarded as the punishment of sin, but only social evil as directly such, and natural evil as only indirectly.

Questions

  • 76.2 How does Schleiermacher suggest human beings approach natural evils?

Definitions

  • [coming soon...]

 

77 The dependence of evil upon sin, however, can be empirically established only as we consider a communal life in its entirety; on no account must the evils affecting the individual be referred to his sin as their cause.

Questions

  • 77.2 What is the relationship between corporate sin and evil that befalls the life of a given individual?  Why does evil occur in the world?

Definitions

  • [coming soon...]

 

Postscript to this Doctrine

78 The consciousness of the connexion does not demand a passive endurance of evil on account of sin; nor does it entail an endeavor either to bring about evil because of sin, or on the other hand to do away with evil in itself.

Questions

  • 78.2 In what way does the human consciousness of suffering relate with Schleiermacher’s concepts of evil and sin?
  • 78.3 How does Schleiermacher discard punishment as an action acceptable in Christian ethics?

Definitions

  • [coming soon...]

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